When it comes to energy providers South Australia has plenty to choose from, which could lead to lower prices for you.
South Australia's energy market has been deregulated since 2002, meaning that the government does not set prices. South Australians have options when it comes to their electricity and gas providers. With the necessary knowledge and a bit of research, energy consumers in South Australia can shop around and potentially get a better deal on their energy.
Search and compare energy providers in SA
How can I switch energy providers?
Switching energy providers in South Australia is easy. All you need to do is:
- Find a new energy provider
- Contact them to organise the changeover
Switching is easy, but the hard part is comparing providers and plans to find one that suits you and hopefully saves you money. Always consider your specific needs and circumstances as you compare providers. When shopping around, consider the following:
- Contract terms and length. You should always check your contract carefully. Some providers will automatically roll over an existing contract, which is convenient. But check if the associated fees go up. Contract length is an important consideration if you're renting or only living in a place for a limited time.
- Tariffs. Look at the tariffs charged by various providers. In an open energy market providers can and do raise tariffs.
- Cooling-off periods. Most providers include a cooling-off period in their contracts (it is often a legal requirement). Inside the cooling-off period (usually 10 days) you can usually cancel a contract freely.
- Early termination fees. Some energy providers charge a fee when you terminate a contract before the end period. Early termination fees generally range from $40 to $100 and must be specified in your contract. Check before switching, and factor the cost into your calculations.
Will South Australia's electricity prices rise this year?
Electricity prices in South Australia look set to rise, partly because of the closure of the Hazelwood power station. Consumer's electricity bills may rise by 7.2% in 2017/18, followed by a slight decrease in 2018/19. These prices could be affected by government decisions regarding energy investment, and the possible increase in wind power in the state.
What energy plans and deals can I get?
A free energy market means more choices for consumers. To get your energy dollars many providers will offer discounts, special offers or unique plans to suit your energy needs. Here's what you should look out for.
- Discounts. It can be worth switching providers just to get a discount. But not all discounts are the same. Discounts for paying on time are great if you're not worried about being short of money each quarter. Discounts for long-term contracts can save you a lot of money but aren't much help if you're renting.
- Bundling. If a provider sells electricity and gas you should check if there's a discount for switching for both.
- Choice of plan. Many energy providers sell multiple plans. Some even let you buy energy at different rates or in advance, locking in cheaper prices. A plan targeting someone with similar energy usage patterns to you will probably save you money.
- Payment flexibility. Some providers offer great flexibility in payment options. If you're worried about paying bills on time, flexible options can really help. Some providers let you purchase energy in advance, which limits bill shock and lets you control your spending.
- Energy tools. Many providers offer a variety of apps and online tools that let consumers measure their energy consumption. Knowing more about your energy usage patterns can help you make better energy decisions in the future.
Many households in South Australia have advanced digital meters, or smart meters, installed. These meters can measure how much electricity you use and when. This lets providers calculate your usage patterns more accurately. They can then charge you more flexibly based on peak and off-peak usage and tell you your exact monthly costs rather than relying on estimates. Smart meters send information to providers automatically, removing the need for a worker to manually check your meter in person.
More questions you may have about South Australian energy providers
What concessions are available for South Australia energy consumers?
South Australian residents with valid concession cards may be eligible for several concessions to help with the cost of energy bills. These include:
- The energy bill concession
- The medical heating and cooling concession
- The cost of living concession
What are tariffs?
Energy providers charge their consumers for energy use using tariffs. There are various types of tariffs, including:
- Fixed. This is the daily charge for supplying energy to a house.
- Variable. The charge for the actual amount of energy you use.
There are many other types of tariff. Find a more detailed explanation here.
What happens when I move states?
Energy options differ by state. NSW, Victoria and the ACT have open energy markets. But states like WA and Tasmania are much more limited, with often a single provider serving a particular region.
What's the difference between an energy distributor and an energy provider?
Energy distributors maintain the grids and energy networks. They do not sell energy directly to consumers.
Energy providers buy energy from the distributors and sell it on to consumers.
What is a cooling-off period?
A cooling-off period is the time during which a customer can cancel an energy contract without any fee or penalty. In many cases the cooling-off period is 10 days, but not all plans include a cooling-off period.
What is GreenPower?
GreenPower is a government scheme that allows consumers to purchase renewable energy through their provider. It is a way of displacing dirtier forms of energy and supporting renewable energy. Providers offering GreenPower must be accredited by the Australian government. Read our full GreenPower guide here.
What is a no lock-in contract?
With a no lock-in contract you can switch providers freely without paying any penalties.
What is carbon neutral power?
All energy providers get their energy from the same grids, and most of this energy is not carbon neutral. However, a lot of providers offset the carbon emissions from their energy. Some providers include this as standard, or offer it at no extra cost to the consumer.